Learning What DACA Means: Stories from Immigrant Families

Many people disagree about the rights of Dreamers and the necessity of a lasting solution, but one thing is for sure. Our situation is much better now that DACA is in place. DACA's advantages go far beyond the work authorization and deportation relief it provides to those who qualify. Compassion and compromise are necessary for those who were brought to the United States as children. They're from the US. Restricting their progress would only serve to limit the scope of our own national development.

Learning What DACA Means: Stories from Immigrant Families

DACA is a game-changer for recipients. It opened doors to training and employment prospects. Many Dreamers dislike living in two-year intervals. Also, legal issues threaten DACA's long-term survival. Over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are eligible for DACA, which leads to permanent residency and citizenship.

What is DACA?

In 2012, President Obama enacted an executive order to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children but did not have legal residency or citizenship. For a fee, you can extend the protection for an additional two years. There is no way to become a citizen through this program. There are some DACA argumentative essays on the advantages of participating in the program. You are welcome to check them if you want to understand the topic better. Work permits and health insurance from employers who offer it are also available to those granted permission to remain in the country.

In many states, the ability to work legally has allowed recipients to pursue higher education, develop careers, and obtain driver's licenses. Some states offer in-state tuition and grants and loans backed by the state. State-subsidized health insurance may also be available depending on where they live.

Who are the Dreamers?

According to the Dream Act, which was first proposed in 2001, recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program can become citizens of the United States if they meet certain criteria. Various versions of that bill have been considered by Congress over the years, but they never made it out of the starting gate.

DACA recipients are now, on average, 26 years old, with the oldest being 39. It is estimated that the majority were brought to the United States by way of Mexico. Several others were born in Latin America and the Caribbean. Asian students, on the other hand, are the fastest- growing group of undocumented students.

Anyone interested in applying must have finished eighth grade, be in excellent academic standing, and not have a felony conviction in the last five years. This section gives their population.

Why was DACA begun and how many have applied?

After more than a decade of unsuccessful attempts in Congress to pass the Dream Act, which would have put Dreamers on the path to citizenship, Mr. Obama created it in 2012 through an executive order. According to numerous polls, the vast majority of Americans support allowing young undocumented immigrants who have grown up in the United States to obtain legal status.

Since DACA's inception ten years ago, the agency in charge of implementing it, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has approved more than 830,000 applications. According to the Migration Policy Institute, more than two-thirds of those eligible for deferred deportation who entered the U.S. before age 16 applied at some point. Many older DACA recipients married Americans and earned green cards, while others chose not to renew their status since it costs $495, and they expected the courts to end the program. Over 600,000 people have DACA.

Where does DACA stand now?

According to the most recent court order, the Department of Homeland Security is unable to process new applications. As long as the government is able to address the court's concerns about procedural flaws, immigrants currently enrolled in the program can stay and work in the United States, but those protections could be wiped out if they are not met. To address these issues, the Biden administration has issued new regulations. DACA's legality will almost certainly be decided by the Supreme Court next year if the appeals court does not rule before the end of the year.

On his first day in office, Vice President Biden took action to strengthen the DACA program. There is still a great deal of uncertainty for those who have raised families, purchased homes, and worked in their fields of study because of the court ruling in Texas. A legal scholar who has written two books on immigration policy, Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, says that while DACA has been "life-changing" for those who have received it, it is also "tiny" protection.

According to Wadhia, "a solution that goes beyond DACA must be included as we think about durability and the long-term plan to allow Dreamers to thrive."

DACA Has Brought Joy to 3 People

Numerous accounts exist of Dreamers who have made the United States their permanent home and are living extraordinary lives there. This week, we're highlighting three profiles that we think are particularly noteworthy. Individually, they have overcome obstacles and achieved success. Their work on behalf of millions of other undocumented immigrants in the U.S., including those who are not eligible for DACA benefits, has also continued. It is a proud tradition for Dreamers to overcome adversity and succeed, but not to forget those who are most vulnerable often members of the same household.

Martin Batalla Vidal – in the U.S. Since Age Seven
The son of a single mother, Martin grew up in New York City. He lives with his mother, brothers, and dog. Martin and one of his siblings were 7 when they moved with their mother to Mexico. His two U.S.-born brothers are now DACA holders and eligible for citizenship. Undocumented woman raises son.

Martin started working young to pay his mother's medical bills and save for education. Since high school, Martin has worked with immigration groups. Martin is a licensed nursing assistant at a New York City brain-damaged facility.

During the Trump administration's efforts to eliminate DACA, Martin gained national attention. His lawsuit on behalf of DACA recipients and immigrant rights groups tries to end the program. Martin had to take time off work to meet with attorneys, speak to the press, and attend protests. He found suing the government stressful. Martin's activism has prompted hate mail.

Make the Road New York, The National Immigration Law Center, and Yale Law School's Immigration Rights Advocacy Clinic helped Martin and other Dreamers in court.

In June 2020, the Supreme Court declared 5-4 that ending DACA was illegal. His efforts helped him, and many other Dreamers keep DACA benefits.

Martin returned to school to become an occupational therapist after feeling rejuvenated and optimistic.

Maria Praeli – in the U.S. Since Age Five
Maria grew up in Lima, Peru. Her family moved to the U.S. for her sister. Maria's parents left Peru for a better life. Maria's mother practiced psychiatry in her homeland. Her immigration status limits her to house cleaning in the U.S.

Maria was a typical American kid. She dreamed of college like many her age. Maria's college applications were all accepted. Undocumented, she couldn't apply for college financial help.

Maria was determined to achieve her goals and follow her aspirations. First, she attended Gateway Community College, where she was a senator. After graduating from community college with a high GPA, she earned a Quinnipiac University honors degree in 2016. Maria says DACA parents should be protected. In 2014, Barack and Michelle Obama visited Maria and other DACA beneficiaries in Connecticut. Michelle Obama got Obama's sympathy as a DACA champion and unauthorized immigrant. DACA recipients are typically the only family members with provisional status.

Maria works as a government relations specialist for FWD.us. Maria and five other DACA recipients met with President Biden on May 14 to advocate for a lasting legislative solution for DACA recipients.

Ewaoluwa Ogundana – in the U.S. Since Age Four
Born in Nigeria, Ewaoluwa Ogundana migrated to Maryland at age 4. Her parents assumed she would be better off in the U.S. than at home, so they overstayed their visas. Many of the illegal immigrants currently in the United States entered the country legally but stayed past the expiration of their visas.

Ewaoluwa was bullied for her accent and heritage. When she returned home, she observed her parents' tension and concern over being undocumented.

Ewaoluwa leaped at the possibility to work legally after President Obama created DACA. 2015 USCIS gave Ewaoluwa DACA status. She started working and applying for a driver's license, two things most undocumented teens can't do.

Ewaoluwa graduated as valedictorian. Due to her low socioeconomic level, she couldn't apply for federal grants, scholarships, or student loans. TheDreamUS, a non-profit that helps DACA recipients, gave her a scholarship. Ewaoluwa was president of Trinity Washington's SGC. She's getting a master's in public policy.

If the laws change, Ewaoluwa may become a citizen of the country she's known her whole life. Her top priority is to return to Nigeria and see her family in the U.S.


New opportunities for undocumented youngsters have been made possible through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). You can get a temporary work permit under DACA if you are an undocumented teen or young adult. For many, this implies the opportunity to get their first job. The ability to leave the informal sector and find a better-paying job is a benefit to many people. According to a recent poll of "DACAmented" young people, undocumented immigrants who have benefited from DACA 70% of survey respondents reported gaining their first job or starting a new career. Furthermore, 45% of respondents said their income had increased.

However, work permits have helped the entire country, not only undocumented young people in the country illegally. Extending work permits to DACA participants will increase tax revenues since these young people will be registered, earn more, and start paying more in payroll taxes. While undocumented immigrants are denied access to these and other social safety net services, these funds are used to fund important programs like Social Security and Medicare.

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